Chilled Sundays at the Lourensford Harvest Market

If you ever thought about visiting Cape Town South Africa then think no more.Here is a great reason why you should go.

winelands weekends

Autumn has officially made it’s appearance and in the Cape that means cool mornings, warm, perfectly still days and certain trees and vineyards turning glorious shades  of red.

One of the nicer things to do on an autumn Sunday is browse around outdoor markets, and Somerset West is lucky enough to have one set in one of the oldest and most beautiful wine estates in the country, Lourensford Wine Estate. The Lourensford Harvest Market has been running since 12th of October last year and has 77 rustic wooden stands filled with fresh produce, beverages and craft vendors, all housed under a permanent roof structure.


Start your morning visit with the perfect cup of java from the Magnificent Barista Boys (and they are indeed magnificent) and then sample some of the goodies on offer while deciding what’s for lunch. Try Eden all Natural peanut butters (try the Hot and Spicy for a kick…

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BTS Nat Geo….Crop, or No Crop? « Joe McNally’s Blog

Modern Nautical Newport Wedding

Modern Nautical Newport Wedding

My hubby and I are knee-deep in planning a little Newport babymoon, and this seaside lovefest from the lens of Judy Pak has me hoping springtime rolls around, STAT. It’s every New England bride’s dream come true, with carefully curated nautical moments alongside all-white blooms styled by Stoneblossom. Kick Tuesday off right here in the full gallery.



From The Bride… When Dave and I got engaged and started to think about our dream wedding, we knew we wanted to plan an event that would be elegant and classic with whimsical, personal touches and most of all be relaxed and fun for our guests. We live and work in Manhattan and decided we thought it would be extra special to come up with a great weekend destination – somewhere that would get people out of the city but wouldn’t be too far away for most of our guests. I had vacationed in Newport with my family growing up and had recently been back to Castle Hill Inn which is just the most magical and beautiful place – I knew it would be perfect. Dave and I took a trip to Newport and he was immediately convinced- Newport and Castle Hill would give us that perfect elegant environment for the wedding, with lots of room for fun for our guests.

We worked with Joyce Holland of Stoneblossom Florals and she became an incredibly trusted adviser and friend in planning. We weren’t stuck on any particular types of flowers but we knew we wanted the environment to feel light and soft with some minimal seaside/nautical touches. She paired lots of white and green flowers with beautiful garden roses, anenomes and other seasonal varietals which gave the perfect flecks of color for our fall celebration. She brought in tons of candles, mercury glass and other beautiful additions like lanterns and aisle decor. She was our savior! To add to Joyce’s decoration, the crew at Exquisite Events handled lighting. We picked vintage chandeliers and swathed the tent with fabric to bring the ceiling down a little lower and give it that quaint, vintage feel.

We were very lucky to have Judy Pak as our photographer. We fell in love with Judy’s signature style – light and airy, dreamy images. She captured our day to a tee from the perfectly orchestrated “first look” to those little moments that only the most skilled photographers can catch. She is a true artist.

Our cake was created by Marc and Marie Soliday/ Confectionery Designs. It was spectacular! Marie worked with Joyce to replicate the flowers in my bouquet. We were blown away when we saw it. Plus it tasted delicious. We had a most excellent band – Big Mix with Joe Shane, we brought them up from NY. I had seen them perform at a wedding many years before and they always stuck in my head. They played classic covers and even backed my husband our friend up for a little impromptu Whitesnake performance.

There were many special and personal touches throughout the weekend. From our “message in a bottle” save the dates, to our Adirondack chair escort cards (to match Castle Hill’s signature chairs) to our personalized welcome bags and signature cocktail straws, and much more, Alana Jones-Mann outdid herself in our collaboration! Alana is the queen of whimsy and details and took our visions and made them realities. She also hand letter pressed our three-piece custom invitations and created a gorgeous presentation for when they arrived to our guest’s mailboxes.

Castle Hill could not have been a more perfect venue for us. With breathtaking seaside views, the mansion and semi-permanent tent set the scene for our dream wedding. The menu was exquisite and the service is unparalleled. After the reception in the tent we hosted an after party in the mansion where our guests partied into the night. Our wedding was truly a dream, we loved every second!

Previously posted on Style Me Pretty

Photography: Judy Pak | Wedding Coordinator: Joslin Caroll | Florist: Stoneblossom | Wedding Dress: Lusan Mandongus | Bride’s Shoes: Prada | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale | Caterer: Castle Hill Inn | Makeup Artist: Christopher Ardoff | Band: The Dream Team | Wedding Venue: Castle Hill Inn

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Judy Pak

Ice cream and wine on a sunny day

winelands weekends

So part of my birthday gift from a great friend of mine was a surprise wine and ice cream pairing at an undisclosed venue in Stellenbosch. We set off on a nicely sizzling 29 degree Saturday afternoon and arrived at Clos Malverne, eager to try a wine pairing with a difference.

Clos Malverne is owned by the Pritchard family, and the farm has been producing wine since 1986. The restaurant on the premises offers a Gourmet Evening menu, a 4 Course Tasting menu as well as the decadent Ice Cream and Wine pairing.

5-2015-02-28We had the Summer pairing (the ice creams and wines are changed seasonally) and the flavours are exceptionally well matched and drool-worthy. The Estate’s Sauvignon Blanc is paired with Passion Fruit & White chocolate ice cream; the slightly wooded Chardonnay is matched to a very yummy Toffee, Almond & Vanilla, and the Elle Methode Cap Classique (who doesn’t love…

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Powerful Environmental Portraits Need 3 Things

Photofocus (old site)

Environmental portraits show people in their place, their habitat. The environment sets the mood and the place of the story, and a single look at the photograph can tell you what the story is about. Let me show you three things I think about as I light the background to make an environment worth photographing.

1. It’s Gotta Be Believable

Lighting and posing a person so he looks his best is my primary concern. (Here are two other articles about lighting and posing to help people look great.) After that’s under control, I’ve got to figure out what the background will be, and how bright to make it. Most of the time, it’s got to look believable, and I like it to look like a good picture, not a well lit picture. I don’t want someone to say, “Oh, this guy has a nice light from a flash on his face”.

For instance, I…

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Featured Photo by Lynn Wiezycki

I have acquired a new love of horses. Love this image.

Photofocus (old site)

Editor’s Note: Each week we’ll be featuring members of the Photofocus community.  Part of our New Year’s resolution is to focus on new and emerging talent.  As such, Melissa Niu will personally select images from our readers and feature them here on Photofocus.

Today’s featured photo is chosen from ViewBug (The World’s Best Photo Contests) community.

“I used my Nikon D800 with 70-200mm lens, at 200mm, 1/200s at f2.8, 2/3 EV. I was with a group of photographers at a local equine rescue facility taking images for them to use to help get the horses adopted and to raise funds. This was a horse that had some scarring on it’s face so I focused in on the eye. This was more of an inspirational shot than a utilitarian shot.” – Lynn Wiezycki
Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 10.15.33 AM

To see more of Lynn’s work, see her portfolio here.

If you would like your photo featured, read…

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Sample Query Letter

Getting your photographs or ideas into the market place can be daunting at times. However if you follow these basic rules you could approach magazines or editors to help get your work published.

Photofocus (old site)

Copyright Scott Bourne 2002 - All Rights Reserved

If you want to get a book, calendar or similar project published, you’ll need to write a query letter. Rather than tell you how to write one, I thought I’d include a sample letter I wrote. You could use this format to pitch everything from magazine articles to long-term book projects. Use it as inspiration to write your own letter.

Your Name





Dear PUBLISHER: (You should find out the name of the person who reviews query letters and address this letter to that person by name.)

There are more than 10,000 members of the US Lighthouse Society and approximately 50,000 members of various state and local lighthouse societies. More than 10,000 American businesses have the word “lighthouse” in their name. There are approximately 250 national, state and regional lighthouse societies and another 500 lighthouse clubs. There are thousands of web sites devoted to lighthouses and…

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Bathed in light and glory.

Photography has always been subjective. This is a really good way to think about how you see images when you look through the lens.

A Matter Of How You See It Photography

Bathed in light and glory.

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Great Black and White Photography… Did You Miss the Hangout?

We all see photography through different eyes, which makes it such a beautiful art form. One of my favorite ways to enjoy it is converting my images to Black and White. I am sure you will enjoy this post.

Photofocus (old site)

We know that not all of you could attend live, but boy did you miss a great Google Hangout this month. Hosts Rob Sylvan and Levi Sim were joined by Gerard Murphy from Mosaic and Bryan O’Neil Hughes from Adobe.

The guys covered great tips on how to make great looking black and white photos.  You can watch the event here. I learned a ton of great things about Clarity, Curves, and Split Toning.  Truly an enjoyable show.  Be sure to join our community and follow on Google+ to find out about the next one.


This Post Sponsored by:

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Viewbug  Stick With Viewbug & Photofocus throughout 2014 – because we’re…

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Aligning Handheld HDR Photos

Some of the images that I created were done with Photomatix Pro. Here is a great article about some of the processes that I used to get the images that you see here.

Photofocus (old site)

With HDR photography you end up with several exposures that need to be merged.  This is relatively easy when a tripods involved, but what happens when you have to shoot handheld… in low light.  Let me show you the easiest way to make a great HDR image under tough conditions.

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